I have had the pleasure of working with Beth Walker and the staff at Secret Cravings since almost the very beginning (January 2011) and have published seven books with their help. After a horrendous experience with my first publisher, I cannot say enough about how wonderful this one has been. Besides an always smooth publication process, they go way beyond what most small publishers do to help promote.
This is how we came to meet. My third romantic suspense/mystery, Losers Keepers, had been languishing in the old publisher's dead letter office for months when I decided to take advantage of an open pitch day at Publishers Trove in November of 2010. As serendipity would have it, Beth was checking the group's posts and wrote me asking if I'd submit the manuscript. I said to the screen, "Well, sure!" trying to keep my voice calm and modulated, all the while shrieking sotto voce, "Eureka!" Losers Keepers was accepted in January of 2011.
I want to thank Beth, my fabulous editors Joy and Ariana, Rebecca, Jean, and all the other people who make this group so special.
To show my gratitude to all the enthusiastic readers of SCP's books, I'm giving away a copy of one of the seven romance/mysteries—your choice. AND for those of you in the continental U.S., a beautiful small measuring tape, suitable for travel and purse. Make sure you leave your email address with your comment!
All this reminiscing has made me nostalgic for my old books, so—just for fun—I'm posting the blurbs for all of them here.
Losers Keepers, the story of a romantic triangle enmeshed in murder, set on the Atlantic barrier island of Chincoteague.
Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk. It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder. Only she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know. Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge. Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?
After that we published Triptych, in which legend, history and romance intertwine in a triptych of suspense.
Both Miranda Cabot and her sister Honor prefer their solitude to romance, Miranda having watched her husband die in flames on the Potomac River rocks called the Three Sisters. Not so the youngest, Sybil, who invites a mysterious Frenchman calling himself the Chevalier du bon Arnaque to stay with them in their mansion overlooking the Sisters.
Misgivings about the stranger’s intentions lead Miranda and Honor to ask their neighbors Dieter Heiliger and his grandson Corey to chaperone. Three beautiful, strong-willed women living in a house with three handsome, virile men results inevitably in an intricate web of jealousy, sex, and intrigue. Add in long-lost master artworks, stolen prototypes and a resident genius and you have a recipe for romance. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend calls for?
Then came Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, a story of murder, misdirection, mistrust, and misfits set in Old Town Alexandria.
Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar. Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.
Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.
Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.
And Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine, romance and mystery on the Florida Gulf coast, as Tessa Diamond deals with new love, old love, murder, sea turtles, smugglers, Russians, and romance, not necessarily in that order.
When Tessa Diamond rescues a baby pufferfish from a hungry gull, her good deed leads her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages. She confronts murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.
She is drawn to Cameron Mason, tiger-eyed and handsome, but before she can drop her longstanding opposition to marriage and accept her true love, she must face the possibility that he could be a thief, and even a murderer.
My sixth, Lapses of Memory, is a novel in which two romances intertwine as a mother recounts her life-long love affair while her daughter juggles two lovers.
In Lapses of Memory, Sydney Bellek recounts her life and adventures as a journalist to her daughter Olivia. Every few years from the age of five Sydney meets her true love Elian Davies, but while he remembers her, she doesn’t recognize him. Only after surviving wars, revolutions, and years of separation does she realize they are meant for each other, but in a twist of fate it is now Elian who has forgotten her.
While Olivia is recording the history of her parents’ romance she must also deal with her own dilemma, choosing between the rich and dashing Rémy de Beaumec, who wants to take her around the world, and the steady, quiet, American-to-the-core, Benjamin Knox, who only wants to make her happy.
The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower is a tale of renegade Masons and black ops, long-lost papers of George Washington, and smack dab in the middle a love story.
In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial falls apart when she discovers a dead body. Together with Detective Ernest Angle, she's drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons. Also cloaked in mystery is her new love Gideon Bliss. A George Washington expert, he haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she'll fall in love with him only to learn he's a thief or even a murderer.
Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten Ernest, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including which black ops agent to trust, whether our first president strayed, and if she and Gideon will ever be together.
And my latest Whirlwind Romance, in which pirates, Puritans, propaganda, and princes are pieces of the puzzle in the whirlwind romance between a beautiful jelly maker and a mysterious castaway.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, jelly maker Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on an island on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. There, Lacey finds herself faced with pirates, fanatical ideologues, and palace intrigue, not to mention the advances of three men, only one of whom she loves.
Secret Cravings also publishes Cravings monthly e-zine, with articles and excerpts and news. On their website click on the "Subscribe" button (top left of website http://secretcravingspublishing.com/ ) to get your free copy.
A regular feature is Culinary Cravings—check out the wonderful recipes including my own for Sumac Jelly (see Whirlwind Romance) and the upcoming Tabbouleh!
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Bravo Secret Cravings! Congratulations on four fabulous years! Here's to decades more of wonderful romances.